President Donald Trump said the Chinese regime “has to do a lot” to turn things around in an ongoing trade war that recently escalated after he vowed to impose fresh tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese imports.
On Aug. 1, Trump unexpectedly announced duties of 10 percent on $300 billion of Chinese goods a day after United States and Chinese negotiators wrapped up talks in Shanghai. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Aug. 2 said the president was “not satisfied” with how the trade deal has progressed.
The president threatened to increase the rate of planned tariffs if Beijing did not work towards advancing a trade deal.
“China has to do a lot of things to turn it around,” Trump told reporters on the White House lawn before departing to New Jersey on Aug. 2 afternoon.
“Frankly, if they don’t do them, I can always increase it [tariffs] very substantially.”
Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping had agreed to restart trade talks in late June, after negotiations had broke down in early May when the U.S. administration accused the regime of reneging on provisions agreed over months of talks.
The United States currently imposes duties of 25 percent on $250 billion of Chinese imports. The threatened new tariffs cover nearly all remaining Chinese imports, including smartphones, apparel, and other consumer products.
The president said the United States has been treated unfairly by the Chinese regime during previous administrations.
“We can’t just go and make an even deal with China,” he said. “We have to make a much better deal with China because right now they have a very unfair playing field, and I’m turning it around.”
The trade dispute was offset last year after the United States enacted punitive tariffs on China, accusing it of a range of longstanding unfair trade barriers including theft of U.S. intellectual property, forced property transfer, and currency manipulation.
Trump also said the Chinese regime was devaluing its currency to offset the effects of U.S. tariffs.
A partial amount of the tariffs collected thus far has gone to U.S. farmers “because they’re being targeted by China,” Trump said, referring to U.S. soybeans and other agricultural products that have been subject to China’s retaliatory tariffs.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Aug. 2 that any potential impact of the planned tariffs on the American consumer would be “minuscule,” adding that the “economic burdens have fallen most heavily on China.”
Kudlow added that because of the trade war, Chinese companies have had to slash prices in order to compete, damaging companies’ profits.
Meanwhile, the overall Chinese economy has slowed to its lowest growth rate in decades. In addition, many multinational companies have shifted production out of China to avoid U.S. tariffs, Kudlow said.
“I think the impact has fallen very heavily on China and our consumer sector remains strong,” he said.